Author J.R.R. Tolkien has a few fervent fans out there. Loyal legions of them, in fact. His Middle Earth legends of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Silmarillion have sold copious copies throughout the years, and Peter Jackson’s multiple movies have added exponentially to their popularity. As another offshoot of this global phenomenon, a niche tourism market has emerged where one can see real life places that inspired the writer or locations where the films were shot. Whether you’re an ardent devotee who speaks Elvish or a casual enthusiast who admired the onscreen scenery, here are 11 must-visit destinations for Tolkien tourists to go on their own epic journey (costumes optional). Not all those who wander are lost.
1. Eagle and Child Pub, Oxford, UK
Bucolic Oxfordshire was the inspirational “Shire” landscape where Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and LORT legendarium. This cozy pub on St. Giles Street in Oxford was a regular meeting spot for the Inklings writers’ group. A private room at the back of the pub, known as the “Rabbit Room,” was where Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and others gathered for weekly get-togethers where they would review each others’ writing, and share a few pints, natch. Many believe this place was a model for The Prancing Pony Inn, where Frodo meets Aragorn for the first time. The Rabbit Room is long gone, but there is a plaque commemorating the literary group inside the pub today.